When I first met Geena, the raven-haired black lab pup with the sweetest face ever, and Captain, the 2-year-old golden retriever who showed me how he could open doors with a handle and pick up items off the floor, I was instantly smitten. I was head over heels. I was enamored.
And right then and there I wondered about how it would feel to love these four-legged friends for two years and have the strength to give them up. But as Jo Sorenson, puppy trainer with Helping Paws, and Kolleen Herr, puppy trainer with Can Do Canines, reveal, it’s all about looking beyond your own needs, wants, and seeing just how much of a difference these pooches will make in the lives of someone with disabilities.
For example, Brendan Loney, who suffered a spinal cord injury in a diving accident in 2009 and is now a quadriplegic, is the recipient of a Helping Paws service dog named Rio.
"I couldn't ask for a better dog," says Brendan. "He helps me in so many ways, from picking up the remote to opening doors to getting my parents if I need something; he's there whenever I need him. And, the bond between us is priceless."
To read more about local puppy trainers, check out the June issue of Maple Grove Magazine, available starting June 1 at maplegrovemag.com.